Download This: Haunting Melissa
With Haunting Melissa, Producer Neil Edelstein worked with Hooked Digital Media to make a horror story experience in a truly unique package. It’s something totally new: an episodic horror series, available for viewing only on your iOS device through the app.
Haunting Melissa tells the story of a girl named Melissa who lives in a farmhouse with her dad. But, of course, begins to see some strange activity occurring in the house. It’s as if something is haunting Melissa. Get it? Whatever the thing is, Melissa must fight this thing in order to save herself and discover the truth surrounding her family.
As an app, Haunting Melissa is a well-designed piece of software. The visuals encompass the intended creepiness of the series—the black and gray pastels really stand out and the eerie white noise accessible in the menus is engrossing. When I logged in for the first time, I was immediately pulled into the horror mindset by the moving icons and shrill sound effects. I half expected the girl from The Ring to jump out of my iPod in the menu alone.
And the series itself? Haunting Melissa is a rather standard “found-footage” flick ala Paranormal Activity. The writing was a little bland, the filming was a little dull, and the style is pretty overdone in Hollywood right now. Even still, the production values were unexpectedly high for a story told in such a medium.
As a viewer, you get the first episode for free, but each additional episode costs more money (either pay per-episode, or get a season pass). All episodes come in two formats: both SD and HD. The prices vary, with season passes costing between $6.99 and $24.99. One element that Hooked Digital Media emphasized was that episodes will come out on a randomized basis (so one episode may come out today, the next won’t be out for 10 days, the next for five days, etc.)—it’s all a part of the anticipation of waiting, according to Edelstein.
So will Haunting Melissa kickstart the TV series-in-an-app trend? It’s hard to tell at this point, but Haunting Melissa’s first episode is free, so take a look for yourself if you dare.
Developer: Twisted Hook Media
Price: Free (in-app purchases: $.99-$24.99)
Download it here.